Friday, March 26, 2010

Can you paint with all the Colors of the Wind?

BYU Daily Universe

Spring has more reasons to celebrate this year. There is more Indian powder. More music. More dance.

The largest Holi Festival of Colors celebration in the U.S. is anticipated to mushroom faster than the colored powder thrown in the air.

People will still resemble Skittle rainbows and find colored powder in every crease of their skin, but the Krishna Temple has a few new things to reveal.

Traditionally the Hindu and Buddhist holiday was celebrated with one celebration in Spanish Fork since its beginning 10 years ago. The celebration on March 27 will be twice as colorful with two celebrations, beginning at noon and 4 p.m., and an additional 25,000 bags of organic, colored powder imported from India.

“Last year was an ocean of people. This year it will be two oceans at two separate times,” said Caru Das, Holi Festival organizer. “The problem with one celebration was that it was so popular people took up to a couple hours to get to the festival from Provo and some arrived too late.”

It may be twice as colorful, but the parking will most definitely not be twice as sweet. With two shows and only 500 parking spots at the temple, event organizers and volunteers are attempting to alleviate the massive amount of traffic likely to clog Interstate 15 and Spanish Fork.

“Parking before has been difficult,” said Tyler Lloyd of Lindon, who has attended the past three years. “A lot of time it came down to being there early or getting lucky and finding a spot or else you end up way out in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately this year, there will be shuttles and other ways to get there to help overcome [the] parking issue.”

Event organizers have rented 2,000 parking spaces at the Spanish Fork Fairground and Sports Complex, in addition to parking at local Salem Hills and Landmark High Schools. Shuttle rides to and from the temple will be offered at these sites for $2 so event attendees can avoid the several mile walk which occurred in past years.

“We want to try to do everything we can that everyone has a reasonable commute time and place to park to get to the festival on time and enjoy it,” Das said.

In 2009, more than 10,000 people participated in the color throwing at the Holi Festival. More than 9,800 people have already RSVP’d on the festival’s Facebook event and 20,000 are expected to attend.

“I’ve seen lots of Indian movies this past year and I am absolutely fascinated by the culture, Holi being a big part of this fascination because of the colors and its focus on spring,” said sophomore Emily Walter from Virginia. “I didn’t get to go last year and this year I am determined to go!”
Musicians from across the country are being brought to Utah for this weekend’s celebration. With so many specialized musicians, festival organizers expect the chanting to be epic.
“This year we have a better band,” Das said. “There’s a saxophonist, trumpet, keyboard, bass guitar and three lead guitars. We are bringing in some lead singers in our movement from New York, California and India. The band should be very exciting this year. They’ll use modern rock instruments, but they chant the ancient Sanskrit.”

It is advised to arrive early to avoid the large amount of traffic anticipated. Color throwing will begin at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. after the drama and dance. For parking locations and instructions, visit

“Nowhere else in Utah can you get so many people together, have a huge color fight and end up with everyone having a great time,” Lloyd said.

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